Slicing a wrist was too messy. Besides, I had heard it was ineffective unless one got the proper angle of the vein. I imagined it as slow, tedious and painful. Forget shotguns. I did not own one and even if I did I would not know how to fire. There was drowning. But I knew I was much too good of a swimmer.
What then? To put my head in the oven was not fair. It may cause an explosion leaving a mess for others to clean up after I was gone. Pills? Again risky. I’d have to take a boatload of something and even then they might not do the job. Cyanide, I had read, was the most effective poison, but that was of course nearly impossible to obtain.
That left only two options: hanging or the railroad tracks. Hanging would be cleaner, no blood. But still it was atrocious. Someone must find me, neck bruised and face white, swinging from the stairwell. They’d get the shock of their lives, a vision so hideous they may not be able to erase it from memory.
And so the train. It happened all the time. At least once a month I heard about suicides by train. The Metro ran non-stop. The Metro can NOT stop. It’s not like it would be anyone’s fault except my own. Oh sure, it would be bloody. But my blood would soak the land, maybe even seep to the grass as fertilizer, wild violets blooming relentlessly within cracks of the sidewalk. Dead on arrival they could quickly do away with my body. Simple. A tiny blurb on the news, if that. I hoped not. I hated the news.
I sat on the tracks. Remembered my family. My friends. How I had given no inkling to anyone of my desire. They would be deeply grieved. But they would get over it. Maybe.
Then of course there was my cat. No one to feed him. No one to clean his box. Yet cats are resilient. Nine lives. I pictured him, wandering the house. He’d wonder where I had gone. He missed me when I went away, yet this time I would not be coming back. I wondered if he’d howl in desperation. My cat, usually so quiet, only let out a yelp if in pain. This would pain him.
I heard the warning horn of the train.
The night was dark, tiny sliver of a moon glinting in the black sky. The new moon, so they say, holds new beginnings. Oh but I had tried this beginning so many times before, all to no avail. My life closed in upon me. “Failure,” the voice said. “Failure! Loser! Burden! Not worth the ground you walk on.”
Traffic ran along the boulevard. Drivers stopped at the red light at the bottom of the hill. Cars parked at the Chinese restaurant, passengers staggering with bags of late night chow mein. Voices cackled, television blaring from open doors of the Blackthorn pub. Were all of them oblivious to the grief of this world?
“Four thousand deaths in Chicago,” Mr. Trump had said in the candidates’ debate. “All by gun violence.” He was right of course. Somewhere in my city, someone was being shot at that very moment.
I’d pay a banger to kill me if I had the money. If I thought he would do it. He would not. That’s the irony.
“Seven billion people and every single one has a problem,” my neighbor Mrs. Gotti had once told me. I thought of Mrs. Gotti in her kitchen, apron dusted in flour, hair woven in a bun. Homemade pasta, she made it from scratch through an old fashioned press. And Christmas cookies, wafer thin, laced with sugar. I’d never learned how to make my own. What else had I never learned?
The second warning horn blared, deafening my ears.
My cat. Green eyes. My friend Bjorn. Scruffy jeans, red wisp of a goatee. He had once told me, “You are an inspiring person.” We’d read tarot together, walked in the woods at solstice, stopped to admire trees. We played music till dawn, Bjorn beating his drums, me pounding my keyboard like the punk rock Carpenters. But now. Inspired to die.
The third warning horn sounded, louder than the others.
My thoughts raced in synch with the horn. The shriek taunted. Now or never now or never now or nevernowornevernowornever
I rose from the stones, gym shoes slipping. Laces untied, they could just as easily have bound me, wedged in the rails like that boy in Fried Green Tomatoes. Then I’d tremble in the few seconds before my self destruction became inevitable.
But no. Not today.
Maybe someday, but not today. Suicide was a business best left unfinished.
September is Suicide Awareness/ Prevention Month.